updated 08:15 am EDT, Fri April 13, 2012
RIM would have used BIS servers for basic data
RIM's former co-CEO Jim Balsillie had proposed using BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) servers to provide data for non-BlackBerry hardware shortly before he resigned his position, new leaks uncovered on Friday. The method outlined to Reuters would have let carriers offer Android and iPhone devices with cheaper data plans that limited Internet access to chat (possibly BlackBerry Messenger) and social networks, much like entry BlackBerry plans do today. RIM would presumably have made money from leasing access to carriers eager to get more smartphone customers and offload some of their bandwidth needs.
The company was supposedly "well along the path," having written software to enable the feature on Apple and Google platforms.
Talks with carriers, however, supposedly created a rift. Soon-to-be CEO Thorsten Heins reportedly disagreed with Balsillie's strategy, which included talks with AT&T, Verizon, Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile), France Telecom (Orange), Telefonica (O2), and Vodafone. Instead, he put all his hopes on future BlackBerry 10 hardware due later in the year.
The strategy switch would have shifted RIM into becoming more of a services company and effectively conceding that the smartphone market was no longer the BlackBerry's to lead. Its early frontrunner position was gradually lost in the wake of the iPhone and saw RIM only slowly acknowledge that it needed to catch up, with slow hardware updates and odd touchscreen models giving few signs that it understood the competitive threat. Heins has said that RIM didn't anticipate the Bring Your Own Device movement among corporate buyers and, to keep RIM in the limelight, has helped unveil Mobile Fusion to manage Android, iOS, and BlackBerry devices all at once.